Surgical Services Transformation: A Process Improvement Success Story

October, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Nearly a year ago, the Surgical Services Transformation (SST) team began looking at ways to improve the ORs. The SST team, along with the consulting firm Carpedia International, Inc., set out to make system-wide improvements in the ORs that would impact patient flow, financial outcomes, and the experiences of the patients, physicians and staff. Kandy DeWitt, RN, BSN, MPA, CNOR, director of Surgical Services at HealthPark Medical Center, says the 10-month project was a positive experience that resulted in greater collaboration, more data transparency and better processes. .........Read More


Surgical Services Transformation Operational Wins

October, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

The Surgical Services Transformation (SST) project was created in response to feedback regarding concerns and suggestions for improvement in our ORs. We launched this project with an open mind, recognizing that there were opportunities to improve in regard to flow, costs and experience. As Dr. Antonucci mentioned in his column this month, the right mindset was necessary for this project to be successful; and, it was. ..........Read More


Program Empowers, Supports Physician Leadership - Welcome Inaugural Cohort of the Lee Health Physician Leadership Development Program

September, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Between advances in technology, new and yet unknown competition, uncertainty in payment models and policy, and other challenges, health care is always evolving. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, we need strong leadership, especially strong physician leaders, to influence and lead change, to shape organizational culture, and to achieve operational and strategic goals. Evidence shows that physician leadership is vital to the future of health care. Now more than ever, physicians are rapidly engaging to become leaders in their practices, organizations and communities. Physicians are often natural leaders, and we recognize the potential you have to help us transform health care delivery and lead us into the future. ..........Read More


Are You Ready to Lead?

September, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

For most physicians, medical school did not include business administration and leadership courses. But both could have been beneficial in terms of us understanding the “business aspects” of medicine, from revenue cycle, information technology, strategy and human resources, as a few examples. Although many see physicians as leaders, the qualities and skills needed to lead may not come naturally as you have the opportunity to assume leadership. As Dr. Antonucci’s article this month alludes, the changing health care environment needs qualified physician leaders who can successfully lead practices, hospitals and other medical services and facilities. . ..........Read More


Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs 

August, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

For most physicians, medical school did not include business administration and leadership courses. But both could have been beneficial in terms of us understanding the “business aspects” of medicine, from revenue cycle, information technology, strategy and human resources, as a few examples. Although many see physicians as leaders, the qualities and skills needed to lead may not come naturally as you have the opportunity to assume leadership. As Dr. Antonucci’s article this month alludes, the changing health care environment needs qualified physician leaders who can successfully lead practices, hospitals and other medical services and facilities. ..........Read More


Did You Get the Message?

August, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

Communication in the health care industry is an ongoing challenge as we face changes on many fronts - from state and federal regulations to reimbursement changes to consumer mindset impact and access demands to care paths, performance metrics and the list goes on A full schedule of appointments and a full inbox add to the challenge of staying abreast of the changes that impact you, your practice, our community and ultimately, patient care. We all know there is no silver bullet to the continued communication challenges, however, we want to be intentional in our communications to relay and receive important information that impact you and patient care while allowing us to run a successful health system to support you and provide excellent care to our community. ..........Read More


ExceptionalLee: A New Day at Lee Health

July, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

More than a year ago, Lee Health embarked on a journey to improve the patient experience. I commissioned a Patient Experience Steering Committee, led by Lisa Sgarlata, chief patient care officer and chief nurse executive. We started listening through town halls, focus groups, a system-wide survey and face-to-face conversations with hundreds of team members. We gained valuable insight and realized we needed to improve the experience for everyone at Lee Health—our patients, their families, and our colleagues and team members. ..........Read More


Are You a Leader?

July, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

In today’s ever-changing health care environment, Lee Health recognizes the importance of having physicians in leadership roles to help lead quality and efficiency improvements needed in the health care organization. Within the past few years, Lee Health has incorporated several physicians into the executive leadership team and now includes physicians from the President/CEO level to the hospital administrative level. This intentional inclusion adds the medical perspective to virtually every strategic meeting now held by Lee Health. Having physicians at the table ensures the representation of the clinical voice in the daily operations across our hospitals and health system. ..........Read More


Lee Health Hospitals are A-Rated

June, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health is now home to four A-rated hospitals and we could not be more proud! For the first time since The Leapfrog Group began assigning letter grades to our hospitals, Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital all earned the highest mark for quality and safety outcomes and processes. Only the top 32% of hospitals in the nation earn this distinction. ..........Read More


Providing Safe Care During Hurricane Season

June, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

As you know, caring for hospital patients during a natural disaster takes planning and dedication. Each year, prior to the onset of hurricane season, Lee Health makes preparations to ensure sufficient staff coverage, including Medical Staff, to keep our hospitals operating before, during and after a storm. The safety of patients and staff is always our top priority. ..........Read More


New Physician Leadership Program Launching in September - Become a Certified Physician Executive (CPE®)

June, 2019

Lee Health and American Academy of Physician Leaders (AAPL) are partnering to offer a new physician leadership program that can lead to the nationally-recognized designation of Certified Physician Executive (CPE®). Program credits may also be applied toward designated Master’s degrees in Healthcare Management at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Massachusetts, and others. If you’ve been considering a leadership role – whether in private practice or Lee Health – this program offers the academic and practical preparation you need to succeed. ..........Read More


Board Restructure Engages Physicians

May, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

Through its Strategic Priorities – Exceptional Experience, Excellent Health Outcomes, Coordinated Care and Strong Financial Results – Lee Health has defined what its future looks like, how it will get there and how it will measure success. Lee Health’s Board of Directors has the responsibility for overseeing the health care system, making sure that the mission, vision and values of the health care system are carried out, while maintaining financial viability of Lee Health to continue to serve the community. ..........Read More


An Update on Gulf Coast Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital

May, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health’s essential obligation as the primary provider of hospital services is to meet the needs of our community and ensure sufficient access to acute-care beds. The seasonal population surge and the continuing growth of our community pose challenges to this, and we are in the process of expanding and transitioning to ensure our health system meets our community’s needs and is well-positioned for the future. ..........Read More


Improving Processes through ExceptionalLee Performance Excellence

April, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health is embarking on a journey to improve our processes and get sustainable results through the initiation of a new operating system we’re calling ExceptionalLee Performance Excellence. Modeled after the Baldrige Excellence Framework, we are working through this evidence-based process used by health systems and other businesses and organizations across the country. This is exciting and important work that will help us fundamentally improve clarity around our strategic direction and how we will get there..........Read More


Improving Outcomes Through Data Transparency

April, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

The Epic (EHR) has been recognized as a positive asset for Lee Health, according to the most recent physician survey. As we add new functionality and capture more data in the EHR, we are afforded new capabilities and opportunities to improve patient care through technology support. One such opportunity is data collection and the ability to analyze the data within Epic, using tools like Slicer Dicer to provide insights into the care you deliver. Like other businesses, having access to timely, digestible data is vital to making informed decisions..........Read More


Survey Revealed Our Strengths and Opportunities

March, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

To gauge your opinions regarding the services and departments at Lee Health, we launched the confidential medical staff engagement survey for a month last fall. The survey is one of many tools we use to gain valuable feedback from our physicians. Those who responded gave us insight into some of our strengths, as well as opportunities.........Read More


Improving OR Performance 

March, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

As we work to transform our health care delivery system to meet the needs of our community today and well into the future, the medical staff survey provides invaluable insights from you. The flow and efficiency in the operating rooms were concerns that surfaced in the most recent medical staff survey, and your feedback is an important reason we are looking at the operating rooms (ORs) for areas of improvement through the Surgical Services Transformation (SST) program now underway. .......Read More


CCC Update 

March, 2019 

SSI-Colo at 4-Star Level

First quarter 2019 Colorectal Surgical Site Infection Rate was reported at the 4-Star level. The 90-day Action Plan for the Colorectal SSI workgroup includes the following new actions:

  • Antibiotics for surgical case review completed (Antibiotic Stewardship opportunities)
  • Increase adoption of ERAS, (Enhanced Recovery after Surgery)
  • Documentation improvement pilot with real time Surgeon and Operating Room Director notifications
  • SSI Bundle Checklist Compliance plan with Infection Prevention....... Read More

GME Expansion Update

March, 2019 

Over the past few months, Lee Health has been evaluating the feasibility of developing additional Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs. Lee Memorial Hospital has had great success with its family medicine residency in partnership with Florida State University and has reached the annual maximum number of GME program slots allowed through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services........Read More


CMS Adds Coverage for Peripheral Artery Disease Supervised Exercise Therapy (PAD SET)

March, 2019 | Ronnie Word, MD, RPVI - Vascular Surgeon LPG; Medical Director Vascular Services, Lee Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the evidence is sufficient to provide coverage for Peripheral Artery Disease Supervised Exercise Therapy (PAD SET) program to beneficiaries with symptomatic peripheral artery disease........Read More


Government Relations Advocates for LeHealth and Local Health Care Delivery

February, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As you know, health care and politics frequently intersect. Because a significant portion of Lee Health’s patient population has government-sponsored health care, and because federal, state and local government regulates nearly all of our operations, we must continuously advocate with all levels of government to achieve the best results for our patients and our team members. We do this through the Government Relations department.......Read More


Rounding: Improving Our Patients’ Experiences

February, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

Patient rounding has long been a foundational tool of quality inpatient care. Getting to know our patients and understand their personal needs helps us provide the best patient-centered care, and results in higher patient satisfaction. Rounding is not just visiting a patient – it is the two-way communication between provider and patient, provider and patient family members, and provider and staff that is important.........Read More


CCC Update - Clinical Guidelines 

February, 2019 

C. diff Phase 1 Changes are Now Live

Redesign of the C. diff process for testing methodology/collection went live January 22. Only stool will be collected as a specimen option for any infectious diarrheal illness testing. C diff is no longer reported in the GI panel. C. diff orders will expire in 48 hours..........Read More


LEEdership Institute: Embrace Change to Enhance Your Effectiveness 

February, 2019 

As health care continues to evolve and transform, learning new techniques and tips to embrace and promote change can enhance your effectiveness as a leader. Lee Health’s LEEdership Institute is offering two courses that will give you the skills and confidence to become a more effective, compassionate leader in a changing environment:.........Read More


Anticipating an Exceptional Season, with Gratitude 

January, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As we head into peak season, we understand that this time of year is busy and can be stressful. This annual influx of seasonal residents and visitors add significantly to our local economy, and increase the volumes in our hospitals, outpatient facilities and health care offices throughout Southwest Florida. At Lee Health, we are working to create an exceptional season by shifting our collective mindset regarding season to one of gratitude for the opportunity to serve people who choose to come to Southwest Florida year after year and by taking a system-wide view of bed capacity.........Read More


Focusing on Care Coordination 

January, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

Care coordination is a focus for all providers – whether you have a community-based practice or work for a health care system. In today’s rapidly changing health care environment, we must all work together to coordinate care for our patients, to improve the patient experience, eliminate waste, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the care we provide.........Read More


Lesson in Safety: Use CUS to Make Safety Personal 

January, 2019 Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

CUS is an assertive, error-prevention tool that helps us to be accountable and support the team by speaking up for safety and elevating the concern if it is not addressed. CUS is especially helpful if we feel hesitant or intimidated about raising a concern to someone we perceive to be in a position of higher authority. Here’s how you CUS:........Read More


DEA Scam in Southwest Florida 

January, 2019

Please be advised of an ongoing Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scam in Southwest Florida. Individuals are posing as DEA Special Agents or other law enforcement personnel and calling physician offices seeking information about physician DEA numbers. The caller ID indicates that the phone call is from the DEA, but that is not true. In some instances, the callers are asking to speak directly with the physician to elicit the information. The callers have also threatened suspending physician licenses if the physician refuses to speak with them or otherwise provide the requested information........Read More


Enhance Your Leadership Skills through Lee Health’s LEEdership Institute 

January, 2019 

Are you interested in developing your leadership skills, or the skills of your office manager or support staff? Lee Health’s Leadership & Organizational Development department offers a variety of courses through the LEEdership Institute that provides the tools and techniques you or your staff need to improve leadership capabilities and confidence.........Read More


Lee Health Coconut Point: A Strategy to Partner in Improving Health 

December, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health Coconut Point, which is set to welcome patients and visitors early this month, is an important milestone in the history of health care in Southwest Florida, especially for Estero and Bonita Springs. This part of our community has seen tremendous growth and is home to a predominantly older population. Community leaders, businesses, residents and local health care providers have been very vocal in their request for improved access to health care, programs and services. It has been our goal to create the space and provide those services for more than 10 years, so we are proud and excited to open the doors at Lee Health Coconut Point on Dec. 3........Read More



Why Should Anyone Be Led By You/Us?

December, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

As health care providers, the reality of our leadership is one that we should take as a privilege to serve others and to have the opportunity to serve our community by becoming good stewards to the organization. Each day we are entrusted with the responsibility to impact the hearts, souls and minds of people (patients, employees, and other physicians) that desire to see us as a “trusted partner” in helping them succeed in the delivery of care and service to our community. The impact of leadership on each of our lives is profound; at work, our personal development, in our families, in our community relationships, etc. Some of the influences are positive, inspirational, others neutral and some can be negative or a detractor. We are on stage all the time.........Read More


HealthPark Medical Center Joins Elite Group of Cardiovascular Hospitals

December, 2018 

HealthPark Medical Center joins Mayo Clinic, Henry Ford Hospital and Duke University Hospital on IBM Watson Health’s Top 50 for Cardiovascular Care for 2019. This is the second year in a row that HealthPark Medical Center has made the list, and this year is one of only two hospitals in Florida to earn the designation.........Read More


Meetings Suspended Until January

December, 2018 

In the spirit of the holiday season, the November and December meetings of the Clinical Collaboration Council (CC) were cancelled. Following is a recap of the Council’s 2018 accomplishments:........Read More


Physicians Drive ACO Performance

November, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Through Best Care Collaborative, our Medicare Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO), we are seeing positive effects on patients and across many quality-of-care metrics, including a decline in readmissions and an increase in appropriate outpatient and ambulatory services. These are evidence that our community of providers are working collaboratively to help patients achieve a positive, healthy path of care........Read More


Obstetrics: Increasing Efficiency, Enhancing Quality

November, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

As we progress further into value-based care, the market is asking us to be accountable for the value that we provide. In healthcare, I define value as Quality + Service + Access/Cost. That value must be measurable. To ensure our success in this value-based environment, Lee Health is looking at existing services to evaluate the performance based on the Quality, Service, Access and Cost of the service from a health care system perspective. In the past few years, several developments have prompted a decision to consolidate obstetrical services from Gulf Coast Medical Center (GCMC) to reside in Health Park Medical Center (HPMC). This transition is scheduled to be complete by March 1........Read More


6 Steps to a Stronger Safety Culture

November, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

As we are taking steps to strengthen our safety culture in our care delivery, there is one constant thread that faces this culture every day. Many hospital adverse events go unreported because physicians and other health professionals are concerned that sharing information about safety problems may result in punitive action. ......Read More


Epic ordering changes

November, 2018

There will be some upcoming Epic ordering changes related to our recent work in the Lab Stewardship CCG workgroup under Hospitalist Medicine.......Read More


ACO, PSN: Opportunities for Value-Based Care for Southwest Florida

October, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Moving from an episodic, fragmented, volume-based care delivery system to one that is coordinated and focused on value requires all of us to redesign the way we deliver care. It requires us to put our patients in the center and leverage our strengths as an integrated health system and as a community of caregivers, so our patients seamlessly flow across inpatient, outpatient and post-acute facilities, programs and services. As we know, population health, which is driven by robust analytics and maintained by meticulous reporting and documentation, is a method for improving quality of care and the health of patients, while also reducing costs......Read More


Data Transparency Informs Decision Making

October, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

As we move forward to value-based care, the engagement of medical staff on how we do business is vital to our combined success. We know that unnecessary clinical practice variation increases the cost of health care. By working together, Lee Health and the medical staff can create clinical protocols and care pathways to meet the needs of our patient population. Reducing care variation also ensures better clinical outcomes. To develop our strategy it is imperative that we share data with the medical staff so that we can make informed decisions based on the weight of evidence. Improvements in care can be accomplished when we are willing to share data in an environment and manner that is designed to help each of us become the best physician/clinician we can possibly be. The environment we want to create is one where we are focused on process improvement and supports each other as colleagues where we “all teach, all learn.” ....Read More


Physician Leadership Institute Graduation Held

October, 2018

Congratulations to the 24 graduates of the fifth class of Lee Health’s Physician Leadership Institute (PLI). This esteemed class of physicians, advanced providers and administrators were recognized during a ceremony Sept. 12......Read More


Physician Listening Tours Opened Dialogue

September, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Earlier this year, I launched a “Listening Tour” to open the dialogue with all of you. My goal for these sessions was to enhance communication and collaboration, to gauge your opinions, answer your questions, and take note of your observations, insights and ideas. As a former practicing physician in our community, I understand there are silos, certain perceptions and skepticism. But, the changing health care landscape requires us all to work together for positive change, continuous improvement and success......Read More


ExceptionalLee Promise

September, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

During the past several months, Lee Health has been on a journey to define the “Lee Health Experience.” We gathered stories and ideas throughout the health system to better understand where we were doing well and where we need improvement. Though this initially started as a patient experience initiative, we were inspired and challenged to focus less on new initiatives and more on the qualities, behaviors and attitudes that unite us as humans. We realized that to create a better human experience, we have to excel at the basics – kindness, listening, effective communication, empathy and compassion. We believe excelling at these basic premises will build stronger, more trusting relationships. ....Read More


Antipsychotics: Beyond Black Box Warnings

September, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President, Quality and Safety

Delirium is an acute decline in attention and cognition, which is present in 18-35 percent of the elderly at hospital admission.....Read More


Complex Care Center: A Valuable Tool for Physicians, Clinics and Patients

August, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Helping patients transition through the continuum of care has been one of the major challenges of health care in the past; especially for those patients who have not established with a primary care provider. The Complex Care Center at Lee Memorial Hospital is an outpatient transitional service; a tool for physicians, clinics and patients to use to avoid emergency department visits, and hospital admissions and readmissions. Located in the already-established Infusion Center, it is staffed with hospitalists, pharmacists and longitudinal care advisors.....Read More


CCC Initiative Appropriately Reducing Telemetry

August, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

Last October, Lee Health implemented guidelines of the first evidence-based best practice developed through the Clinical Collaboration Council (CCC): ART of Telemetry (Appropriately Reducing Telemetry). The new guidelines were designed to provide our patients with the correct level of telemetry monitoring in Medical Surgical Units and Progressive Care Units while reducing its use on those not at risk for irregular heart rhythm....Read More


Help Guide Cancer Care in Southwest Florida

August, 2018

Since August of 2017, a group of physicians have met regularly to develop and guide the direction of cancer care in our community. The result of that work is a vision to provide “Coordinated Cancer Care, Inspiring Hope for Tomorrow.” Any physician on the medical staff that is interested in helping us work toward this vision and meets certain criteria is invited to join the Regional Cancer Center Expert Physician Panel and help guide the future of cancer care in Southwest Florida...Read More


Transplant Program Temporarily Inactivated

August, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As of August 16, 2018, the Lee Health Transplant Institute will temporarily and voluntarily be inactivating the deceased donor kidney transplant program at Gulf Coast Medical Center due to a temporary lack of surgical availability. Since reopening in 2017, 33 patients have been transplanted with 100% patient and kidney survival. Plans are to reactivate the program in early December 2018, and remain dedicated to providing high-quality care for our patients...Read More


To Err is Human: System Gaps. Faulty Processes are Causes

August, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

Most errors do not result from individual recklessness; rather, they are caused by system gaps and faulty processes. At Lee Health we want to continuously monitor and update the health care system to reduce the number of errors....Read More


Combining Care and Coverage for Medicaid Recipients

July, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

With the goal of improving health care delivery and outcomes for the underserved and vulnerable members of our community, Lee Health submitted a bid to launch and operate a Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) plan to serve Medicaid members throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry and Sarasota counties (known as Region 8). Our health plan is also known as a Provider Service Network (PSN) and will be different from the other MMA plans as it will be locally-led by physicians in our region. The goal of the health plan is to bring together care (behavioral and physical health care) and coverage, and we’ll do this through our regional network of providers and by localizing and streamlining the decision-making process....Read More


We’re Listening…

July, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA Chief Operating Officer

We’ve been pleased with the open dialog occurring at our Physician Listening Tour sessions. One topic that has come up consistently is strengthening the relationship between Lee Health and the Medical Staff physicians. Solid relationships are built on trust, and we know we have work to do in this area. The executive team of Lee Health needs to know the issues or barriers you perceive, and how we can work better together for the benefit of our patients and community.....Read More


HB 21 Now in Effect

July, 2018

Florida House Bill 21 provides new requirements for prescribing controlled substances. Below is a brief summary of the law prepared by Lee Health Legal Counsel......Read More


2018 Hurricane Season – Physician Update

July, 2018

As a health system, Lee Health learned many lessons from Hurricane Irma, especially on billeting. We have revised our hurricane registration process to remain focused on patient care, quality and safety during a storm......Read More

Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs 

August, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Enabling and ensuring access to care, especially primary care, is a vital responsibility for Lee Health. Disruptions or delays in care impact health outcomes and patient satisfaction and loyalty. More than five years ago, we recognized the need to more proactively address the local demand for health care, while also aiming to decrease a national shortage of primary care physicians. Lee Health partnered with The Florida State University College of Medicine to bring the first physician residency program to Southwest Florida in 2014. ..........Read More


Did You Get the Message?

August, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

Communication in the health care industry is an ongoing challenge as we face changes on many fronts - from state and federal regulations to reimbursement changes to consumer mindset impact and access demands to care paths, performance metrics and the list goes on A full schedule of appointments and a full inbox add to the challenge of staying abreast of the changes that impact you, your practice, our community and ultimately, patient care. We all know there is no silver bullet to the continued communication challenges, however, we want to be intentional in our communications to relay and receive important information that impact you and patient care while allowing us to run a successful health system to support you and provide excellent care to our community. ..........Read More


ExceptionalLee: A New Day at Lee Health

July, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

More than a year ago, Lee Health embarked on a journey to improve the patient experience. I commissioned a Patient Experience Steering Committee, led by Lisa Sgarlata, chief patient care officer and chief nurse executive. We started listening through town halls, focus groups, a system-wide survey and face-to-face conversations with hundreds of team members. We gained valuable insight and realized we needed to improve the experience for everyone at Lee Health—our patients, their families, and our colleagues and team members. ..........Read More


Are You a Leader?

July, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

In today’s ever-changing health care environment, Lee Health recognizes the importance of having physicians in leadership roles to help lead quality and efficiency improvements needed in the health care organization. Within the past few years, Lee Health has incorporated several physicians into the executive leadership team and now includes physicians from the President/CEO level to the hospital administrative level. This intentional inclusion adds the medical perspective to virtually every strategic meeting now held by Lee Health. Having physicians at the table ensures the representation of the clinical voice in the daily operations across our hospitals and health system. ..........Read More


Lee Health Hospitals are A-Rated

June, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health is now home to four A-rated hospitals and we could not be more proud! For the first time since The Leapfrog Group began assigning letter grades to our hospitals, Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital all earned the highest mark for quality and safety outcomes and processes. Only the top 32% of hospitals in the nation earn this distinction. ..........Read More


Providing Safe Care During Hurricane Season

June, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

As you know, caring for hospital patients during a natural disaster takes planning and dedication. Each year, prior to the onset of hurricane season, Lee Health makes preparations to ensure sufficient staff coverage, including Medical Staff, to keep our hospitals operating before, during and after a storm. The safety of patients and staff is always our top priority. ..........Read More


New Physician Leadership Program Launching in September - Become a Certified Physician Executive (CPE®)

June, 2019

Lee Health and American Academy of Physician Leaders (AAPL) are partnering to offer a new physician leadership program that can lead to the nationally-recognized designation of Certified Physician Executive (CPE®). Program credits may also be applied toward designated Master’s degrees in Healthcare Management at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Massachusetts, and others. If you’ve been considering a leadership role – whether in private practice or Lee Health – this program offers the academic and practical preparation you need to succeed. ..........Read More


Board Restructure Engages Physicians

May, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

Through its Strategic Priorities – Exceptional Experience, Excellent Health Outcomes, Coordinated Care and Strong Financial Results – Lee Health has defined what its future looks like, how it will get there and how it will measure success. Lee Health’s Board of Directors has the responsibility for overseeing the health care system, making sure that the mission, vision and values of the health care system are carried out, while maintaining financial viability of Lee Health to continue to serve the community. ..........Read More


An Update on Gulf Coast Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital

May, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health’s essential obligation as the primary provider of hospital services is to meet the needs of our community and ensure sufficient access to acute-care beds. The seasonal population surge and the continuing growth of our community pose challenges to this, and we are in the process of expanding and transitioning to ensure our health system meets our community’s needs and is well-positioned for the future. ..........Read More


Improving Processes through ExceptionalLee Performance Excellence

April, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health is embarking on a journey to improve our processes and get sustainable results through the initiation of a new operating system we’re calling ExceptionalLee Performance Excellence. Modeled after the Baldrige Excellence Framework, we are working through this evidence-based process used by health systems and other businesses and organizations across the country. This is exciting and important work that will help us fundamentally improve clarity around our strategic direction and how we will get there..........Read More


Improving Outcomes Through Data Transparency

April, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

The Epic (EHR) has been recognized as a positive asset for Lee Health, according to the most recent physician survey. As we add new functionality and capture more data in the EHR, we are afforded new capabilities and opportunities to improve patient care through technology support. One such opportunity is data collection and the ability to analyze the data within Epic, using tools like Slicer Dicer to provide insights into the care you deliver. Like other businesses, having access to timely, digestible data is vital to making informed decisions..........Read More


Survey Revealed Our Strengths and Opportunities

March, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

To gauge your opinions regarding the services and departments at Lee Health, we launched the confidential medical staff engagement survey for a month last fall. The survey is one of many tools we use to gain valuable feedback from our physicians. Those who responded gave us insight into some of our strengths, as well as opportunities.........Read More


Improving OR Performance 

March, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

As we work to transform our health care delivery system to meet the needs of our community today and well into the future, the medical staff survey provides invaluable insights from you. The flow and efficiency in the operating rooms were concerns that surfaced in the most recent medical staff survey, and your feedback is an important reason we are looking at the operating rooms (ORs) for areas of improvement through the Surgical Services Transformation (SST) program now underway. .......Read More


CCC Update 

March, 2019 

SSI-Colo at 4-Star Level

First quarter 2019 Colorectal Surgical Site Infection Rate was reported at the 4-Star level. The 90-day Action Plan for the Colorectal SSI workgroup includes the following new actions:

  • Antibiotics for surgical case review completed (Antibiotic Stewardship opportunities)
  • Increase adoption of ERAS, (Enhanced Recovery after Surgery)
  • Documentation improvement pilot with real time Surgeon and Operating Room Director notifications
  • SSI Bundle Checklist Compliance plan with Infection Prevention....... Read More

GME Expansion Update

March, 2019 

Over the past few months, Lee Health has been evaluating the feasibility of developing additional Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs. Lee Memorial Hospital has had great success with its family medicine residency in partnership with Florida State University and has reached the annual maximum number of GME program slots allowed through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services........Read More


CMS Adds Coverage for Peripheral Artery Disease Supervised Exercise Therapy (PAD SET)

March, 2019 | Ronnie Word, MD, RPVI - Vascular Surgeon LPG; Medical Director Vascular Services, Lee Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the evidence is sufficient to provide coverage for Peripheral Artery Disease Supervised Exercise Therapy (PAD SET) program to beneficiaries with symptomatic peripheral artery disease........Read More


Government Relations Advocates for LeHealth and Local Health Care Delivery

February, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As you know, health care and politics frequently intersect. Because a significant portion of Lee Health’s patient population has government-sponsored health care, and because federal, state and local government regulates nearly all of our operations, we must continuously advocate with all levels of government to achieve the best results for our patients and our team members. We do this through the Government Relations department.......Read More


Rounding: Improving Our Patients’ Experiences

February, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

Patient rounding has long been a foundational tool of quality inpatient care. Getting to know our patients and understand their personal needs helps us provide the best patient-centered care, and results in higher patient satisfaction. Rounding is not just visiting a patient – it is the two-way communication between provider and patient, provider and patient family members, and provider and staff that is important.........Read More


CCC Update - Clinical Guidelines 

February, 2019 

C. diff Phase 1 Changes are Now Live

Redesign of the C. diff process for testing methodology/collection went live January 22. Only stool will be collected as a specimen option for any infectious diarrheal illness testing. C diff is no longer reported in the GI panel. C. diff orders will expire in 48 hours..........Read More


LEEdership Institute: Embrace Change to Enhance Your Effectiveness 

February, 2019 

As health care continues to evolve and transform, learning new techniques and tips to embrace and promote change can enhance your effectiveness as a leader. Lee Health’s LEEdership Institute is offering two courses that will give you the skills and confidence to become a more effective, compassionate leader in a changing environment:.........Read More


Anticipating an Exceptional Season, with Gratitude 

January, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As we head into peak season, we understand that this time of year is busy and can be stressful. This annual influx of seasonal residents and visitors add significantly to our local economy, and increase the volumes in our hospitals, outpatient facilities and health care offices throughout Southwest Florida. At Lee Health, we are working to create an exceptional season by shifting our collective mindset regarding season to one of gratitude for the opportunity to serve people who choose to come to Southwest Florida year after year and by taking a system-wide view of bed capacity.........Read More


Focusing on Care Coordination 

January, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

Care coordination is a focus for all providers – whether you have a community-based practice or work for a health care system. In today’s rapidly changing health care environment, we must all work together to coordinate care for our patients, to improve the patient experience, eliminate waste, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the care we provide.........Read More


Lesson in Safety: Use CUS to Make Safety Personal 

January, 2019 Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

CUS is an assertive, error-prevention tool that helps us to be accountable and support the team by speaking up for safety and elevating the concern if it is not addressed. CUS is especially helpful if we feel hesitant or intimidated about raising a concern to someone we perceive to be in a position of higher authority. Here’s how you CUS:........Read More


DEA Scam in Southwest Florida 

January, 2019

Please be advised of an ongoing Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scam in Southwest Florida. Individuals are posing as DEA Special Agents or other law enforcement personnel and calling physician offices seeking information about physician DEA numbers. The caller ID indicates that the phone call is from the DEA, but that is not true. In some instances, the callers are asking to speak directly with the physician to elicit the information. The callers have also threatened suspending physician licenses if the physician refuses to speak with them or otherwise provide the requested information........Read More


Enhance Your Leadership Skills through Lee Health’s LEEdership Institute 

January, 2019 

Are you interested in developing your leadership skills, or the skills of your office manager or support staff? Lee Health’s Leadership & Organizational Development department offers a variety of courses through the LEEdership Institute that provides the tools and techniques you or your staff need to improve leadership capabilities and confidence.........Read More


Lee Health Coconut Point: A Strategy to Partner in Improving Health 

December, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health Coconut Point, which is set to welcome patients and visitors early this month, is an important milestone in the history of health care in Southwest Florida, especially for Estero and Bonita Springs. This part of our community has seen tremendous growth and is home to a predominantly older population. Community leaders, businesses, residents and local health care providers have been very vocal in their request for improved access to health care, programs and services. It has been our goal to create the space and provide those services for more than 10 years, so we are proud and excited to open the doors at Lee Health Coconut Point on Dec. 3........Read More



Why Should Anyone Be Led By You/Us?

December, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

As health care providers, the reality of our leadership is one that we should take as a privilege to serve others and to have the opportunity to serve our community by becoming good stewards to the organization. Each day we are entrusted with the responsibility to impact the hearts, souls and minds of people (patients, employees, and other physicians) that desire to see us as a “trusted partner” in helping them succeed in the delivery of care and service to our community. The impact of leadership on each of our lives is profound; at work, our personal development, in our families, in our community relationships, etc. Some of the influences are positive, inspirational, others neutral and some can be negative or a detractor. We are on stage all the time.........Read More


HealthPark Medical Center Joins Elite Group of Cardiovascular Hospitals

December, 2018 

HealthPark Medical Center joins Mayo Clinic, Henry Ford Hospital and Duke University Hospital on IBM Watson Health’s Top 50 for Cardiovascular Care for 2019. This is the second year in a row that HealthPark Medical Center has made the list, and this year is one of only two hospitals in Florida to earn the designation.........Read More


Meetings Suspended Until January

December, 2018 

In the spirit of the holiday season, the November and December meetings of the Clinical Collaboration Council (CC) were cancelled. Following is a recap of the Council’s 2018 accomplishments:........Read More


Physicians Drive ACO Performance

November, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Through Best Care Collaborative, our Medicare Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO), we are seeing positive effects on patients and across many quality-of-care metrics, including a decline in readmissions and an increase in appropriate outpatient and ambulatory services. These are evidence that our community of providers are working collaboratively to help patients achieve a positive, healthy path of care........Read More


Obstetrics: Increasing Efficiency, Enhancing Quality

November, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

As we progress further into value-based care, the market is asking us to be accountable for the value that we provide. In healthcare, I define value as Quality + Service + Access/Cost. That value must be measurable. To ensure our success in this value-based environment, Lee Health is looking at existing services to evaluate the performance based on the Quality, Service, Access and Cost of the service from a health care system perspective. In the past few years, several developments have prompted a decision to consolidate obstetrical services from Gulf Coast Medical Center (GCMC) to reside in Health Park Medical Center (HPMC). This transition is scheduled to be complete by March 1........Read More


6 Steps to a Stronger Safety Culture

November, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

As we are taking steps to strengthen our safety culture in our care delivery, there is one constant thread that faces this culture every day. Many hospital adverse events go unreported because physicians and other health professionals are concerned that sharing information about safety problems may result in punitive action. ......Read More


Epic ordering changes

November, 2018

There will be some upcoming Epic ordering changes related to our recent work in the Lab Stewardship CCG workgroup under Hospitalist Medicine.......Read More


ACO, PSN: Opportunities for Value-Based Care for Southwest Florida

October, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Moving from an episodic, fragmented, volume-based care delivery system to one that is coordinated and focused on value requires all of us to redesign the way we deliver care. It requires us to put our patients in the center and leverage our strengths as an integrated health system and as a community of caregivers, so our patients seamlessly flow across inpatient, outpatient and post-acute facilities, programs and services. As we know, population health, which is driven by robust analytics and maintained by meticulous reporting and documentation, is a method for improving quality of care and the health of patients, while also reducing costs......Read More


Data Transparency Informs Decision Making

October, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

As we move forward to value-based care, the engagement of medical staff on how we do business is vital to our combined success. We know that unnecessary clinical practice variation increases the cost of health care. By working together, Lee Health and the medical staff can create clinical protocols and care pathways to meet the needs of our patient population. Reducing care variation also ensures better clinical outcomes. To develop our strategy it is imperative that we share data with the medical staff so that we can make informed decisions based on the weight of evidence. Improvements in care can be accomplished when we are willing to share data in an environment and manner that is designed to help each of us become the best physician/clinician we can possibly be. The environment we want to create is one where we are focused on process improvement and supports each other as colleagues where we “all teach, all learn.” ....Read More


Physician Leadership Institute Graduation Held

October, 2018

Congratulations to the 24 graduates of the fifth class of Lee Health’s Physician Leadership Institute (PLI). This esteemed class of physicians, advanced providers and administrators were recognized during a ceremony Sept. 12......Read More


Physician Listening Tours Opened Dialogue

September, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Earlier this year, I launched a “Listening Tour” to open the dialogue with all of you. My goal for these sessions was to enhance communication and collaboration, to gauge your opinions, answer your questions, and take note of your observations, insights and ideas. As a former practicing physician in our community, I understand there are silos, certain perceptions and skepticism. But, the changing health care landscape requires us all to work together for positive change, continuous improvement and success......Read More


ExceptionalLee Promise

September, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

During the past several months, Lee Health has been on a journey to define the “Lee Health Experience.” We gathered stories and ideas throughout the health system to better understand where we were doing well and where we need improvement. Though this initially started as a patient experience initiative, we were inspired and challenged to focus less on new initiatives and more on the qualities, behaviors and attitudes that unite us as humans. We realized that to create a better human experience, we have to excel at the basics – kindness, listening, effective communication, empathy and compassion. We believe excelling at these basic premises will build stronger, more trusting relationships. ....Read More


Antipsychotics: Beyond Black Box Warnings

September, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President, Quality and Safety

Delirium is an acute decline in attention and cognition, which is present in 18-35 percent of the elderly at hospital admission.....Read More


Complex Care Center: A Valuable Tool for Physicians, Clinics and Patients

August, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Helping patients transition through the continuum of care has been one of the major challenges of health care in the past; especially for those patients who have not established with a primary care provider. The Complex Care Center at Lee Memorial Hospital is an outpatient transitional service; a tool for physicians, clinics and patients to use to avoid emergency department visits, and hospital admissions and readmissions. Located in the already-established Infusion Center, it is staffed with hospitalists, pharmacists and longitudinal care advisors.....Read More


CCC Initiative Appropriately Reducing Telemetry

August, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

Last October, Lee Health implemented guidelines of the first evidence-based best practice developed through the Clinical Collaboration Council (CCC): ART of Telemetry (Appropriately Reducing Telemetry). The new guidelines were designed to provide our patients with the correct level of telemetry monitoring in Medical Surgical Units and Progressive Care Units while reducing its use on those not at risk for irregular heart rhythm....Read More


Help Guide Cancer Care in Southwest Florida

August, 2018

Since August of 2017, a group of physicians have met regularly to develop and guide the direction of cancer care in our community. The result of that work is a vision to provide “Coordinated Cancer Care, Inspiring Hope for Tomorrow.” Any physician on the medical staff that is interested in helping us work toward this vision and meets certain criteria is invited to join the Regional Cancer Center Expert Physician Panel and help guide the future of cancer care in Southwest Florida...Read More


Transplant Program Temporarily Inactivated

August, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As of August 16, 2018, the Lee Health Transplant Institute will temporarily and voluntarily be inactivating the deceased donor kidney transplant program at Gulf Coast Medical Center due to a temporary lack of surgical availability. Since reopening in 2017, 33 patients have been transplanted with 100% patient and kidney survival. Plans are to reactivate the program in early December 2018, and remain dedicated to providing high-quality care for our patients...Read More


To Err is Human: System Gaps. Faulty Processes are Causes

August, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

Most errors do not result from individual recklessness; rather, they are caused by system gaps and faulty processes. At Lee Health we want to continuously monitor and update the health care system to reduce the number of errors....Read More


Combining Care and Coverage for Medicaid Recipients

July, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

With the goal of improving health care delivery and outcomes for the underserved and vulnerable members of our community, Lee Health submitted a bid to launch and operate a Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) plan to serve Medicaid members throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry and Sarasota counties (known as Region 8). Our health plan is also known as a Provider Service Network (PSN) and will be different from the other MMA plans as it will be locally-led by physicians in our region. The goal of the health plan is to bring together care (behavioral and physical health care) and coverage, and we’ll do this through our regional network of providers and by localizing and streamlining the decision-making process....Read More


We’re Listening…

July, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA Chief Operating Officer

We’ve been pleased with the open dialog occurring at our Physician Listening Tour sessions. One topic that has come up consistently is strengthening the relationship between Lee Health and the Medical Staff physicians. Solid relationships are built on trust, and we know we have work to do in this area. The executive team of Lee Health needs to know the issues or barriers you perceive, and how we can work better together for the benefit of our patients and community.....Read More


HB 21 Now in Effect

July, 2018

Florida House Bill 21 provides new requirements for prescribing controlled substances. Below is a brief summary of the law prepared by Lee Health Legal Counsel......Read More


2018 Hurricane Season – Physician Update

July, 2018

As a health system, Lee Health learned many lessons from Hurricane Irma, especially on billeting. We have revised our hurricane registration process to remain focused on patient care, quality and safety during a storm......Read More

Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs 

Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs  August, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Enabling and ensuring access to care, especially primary care, is a vital responsibility for Lee Health. Disruptions or delays in care impact health outcomes and patient satisfaction and loyalty. More than five years ago, we recognized the need to more proactively address the local demand for health care, while also aiming to decrease a national shortage of primary care physicians. Lee Health partnered with The Florida State University College of Medicine to bring the first physician residency program to Southwest Florida in 2014. ..........Read More

Read More

Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs 

August, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Enabling and ensuring access to care, especially primary care, is a vital responsibility for Lee Health. Disruptions or delays in care impact health outcomes and patient satisfaction and loyalty. More than five years ago, we recognized the need to more proactively address the local demand for health care, while also aiming to decrease a national shortage of primary care physicians. Lee Health partnered with The Florida State University College of Medicine to bring the first physician residency program to Southwest Florida in 2014. ..........Read More


Did You Get the Message?

August, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

Communication in the health care industry is an ongoing challenge as we face changes on many fronts - from state and federal regulations to reimbursement changes to consumer mindset impact and access demands to care paths, performance metrics and the list goes on A full schedule of appointments and a full inbox add to the challenge of staying abreast of the changes that impact you, your practice, our community and ultimately, patient care. We all know there is no silver bullet to the continued communication challenges, however, we want to be intentional in our communications to relay and receive important information that impact you and patient care while allowing us to run a successful health system to support you and provide excellent care to our community. ..........Read More


ExceptionalLee: A New Day at Lee Health

July, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

More than a year ago, Lee Health embarked on a journey to improve the patient experience. I commissioned a Patient Experience Steering Committee, led by Lisa Sgarlata, chief patient care officer and chief nurse executive. We started listening through town halls, focus groups, a system-wide survey and face-to-face conversations with hundreds of team members. We gained valuable insight and realized we needed to improve the experience for everyone at Lee Health—our patients, their families, and our colleagues and team members. ..........Read More


Are You a Leader?

July, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

In today’s ever-changing health care environment, Lee Health recognizes the importance of having physicians in leadership roles to help lead quality and efficiency improvements needed in the health care organization. Within the past few years, Lee Health has incorporated several physicians into the executive leadership team and now includes physicians from the President/CEO level to the hospital administrative level. This intentional inclusion adds the medical perspective to virtually every strategic meeting now held by Lee Health. Having physicians at the table ensures the representation of the clinical voice in the daily operations across our hospitals and health system. ..........Read More


Lee Health Hospitals are A-Rated

June, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health is now home to four A-rated hospitals and we could not be more proud! For the first time since The Leapfrog Group began assigning letter grades to our hospitals, Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital all earned the highest mark for quality and safety outcomes and processes. Only the top 32% of hospitals in the nation earn this distinction. ..........Read More


Providing Safe Care During Hurricane Season

June, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

As you know, caring for hospital patients during a natural disaster takes planning and dedication. Each year, prior to the onset of hurricane season, Lee Health makes preparations to ensure sufficient staff coverage, including Medical Staff, to keep our hospitals operating before, during and after a storm. The safety of patients and staff is always our top priority. ..........Read More


New Physician Leadership Program Launching in September - Become a Certified Physician Executive (CPE®)

June, 2019

Lee Health and American Academy of Physician Leaders (AAPL) are partnering to offer a new physician leadership program that can lead to the nationally-recognized designation of Certified Physician Executive (CPE®). Program credits may also be applied toward designated Master’s degrees in Healthcare Management at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Massachusetts, and others. If you’ve been considering a leadership role – whether in private practice or Lee Health – this program offers the academic and practical preparation you need to succeed. ..........Read More


Board Restructure Engages Physicians

May, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

Through its Strategic Priorities – Exceptional Experience, Excellent Health Outcomes, Coordinated Care and Strong Financial Results – Lee Health has defined what its future looks like, how it will get there and how it will measure success. Lee Health’s Board of Directors has the responsibility for overseeing the health care system, making sure that the mission, vision and values of the health care system are carried out, while maintaining financial viability of Lee Health to continue to serve the community. ..........Read More


An Update on Gulf Coast Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital

May, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health’s essential obligation as the primary provider of hospital services is to meet the needs of our community and ensure sufficient access to acute-care beds. The seasonal population surge and the continuing growth of our community pose challenges to this, and we are in the process of expanding and transitioning to ensure our health system meets our community’s needs and is well-positioned for the future. ..........Read More


Improving Processes through ExceptionalLee Performance Excellence

April, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health is embarking on a journey to improve our processes and get sustainable results through the initiation of a new operating system we’re calling ExceptionalLee Performance Excellence. Modeled after the Baldrige Excellence Framework, we are working through this evidence-based process used by health systems and other businesses and organizations across the country. This is exciting and important work that will help us fundamentally improve clarity around our strategic direction and how we will get there..........Read More


Improving Outcomes Through Data Transparency

April, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

The Epic (EHR) has been recognized as a positive asset for Lee Health, according to the most recent physician survey. As we add new functionality and capture more data in the EHR, we are afforded new capabilities and opportunities to improve patient care through technology support. One such opportunity is data collection and the ability to analyze the data within Epic, using tools like Slicer Dicer to provide insights into the care you deliver. Like other businesses, having access to timely, digestible data is vital to making informed decisions..........Read More


Survey Revealed Our Strengths and Opportunities

March, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

To gauge your opinions regarding the services and departments at Lee Health, we launched the confidential medical staff engagement survey for a month last fall. The survey is one of many tools we use to gain valuable feedback from our physicians. Those who responded gave us insight into some of our strengths, as well as opportunities.........Read More


Improving OR Performance 

March, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

As we work to transform our health care delivery system to meet the needs of our community today and well into the future, the medical staff survey provides invaluable insights from you. The flow and efficiency in the operating rooms were concerns that surfaced in the most recent medical staff survey, and your feedback is an important reason we are looking at the operating rooms (ORs) for areas of improvement through the Surgical Services Transformation (SST) program now underway. .......Read More


CCC Update 

March, 2019 

SSI-Colo at 4-Star Level

First quarter 2019 Colorectal Surgical Site Infection Rate was reported at the 4-Star level. The 90-day Action Plan for the Colorectal SSI workgroup includes the following new actions:

  • Antibiotics for surgical case review completed (Antibiotic Stewardship opportunities)
  • Increase adoption of ERAS, (Enhanced Recovery after Surgery)
  • Documentation improvement pilot with real time Surgeon and Operating Room Director notifications
  • SSI Bundle Checklist Compliance plan with Infection Prevention....... Read More

GME Expansion Update

March, 2019 

Over the past few months, Lee Health has been evaluating the feasibility of developing additional Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs. Lee Memorial Hospital has had great success with its family medicine residency in partnership with Florida State University and has reached the annual maximum number of GME program slots allowed through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services........Read More


CMS Adds Coverage for Peripheral Artery Disease Supervised Exercise Therapy (PAD SET)

March, 2019 | Ronnie Word, MD, RPVI - Vascular Surgeon LPG; Medical Director Vascular Services, Lee Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the evidence is sufficient to provide coverage for Peripheral Artery Disease Supervised Exercise Therapy (PAD SET) program to beneficiaries with symptomatic peripheral artery disease........Read More


Government Relations Advocates for LeHealth and Local Health Care Delivery

February, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As you know, health care and politics frequently intersect. Because a significant portion of Lee Health’s patient population has government-sponsored health care, and because federal, state and local government regulates nearly all of our operations, we must continuously advocate with all levels of government to achieve the best results for our patients and our team members. We do this through the Government Relations department.......Read More


Rounding: Improving Our Patients’ Experiences

February, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

Patient rounding has long been a foundational tool of quality inpatient care. Getting to know our patients and understand their personal needs helps us provide the best patient-centered care, and results in higher patient satisfaction. Rounding is not just visiting a patient – it is the two-way communication between provider and patient, provider and patient family members, and provider and staff that is important.........Read More


CCC Update - Clinical Guidelines 

February, 2019 

C. diff Phase 1 Changes are Now Live

Redesign of the C. diff process for testing methodology/collection went live January 22. Only stool will be collected as a specimen option for any infectious diarrheal illness testing. C diff is no longer reported in the GI panel. C. diff orders will expire in 48 hours..........Read More


LEEdership Institute: Embrace Change to Enhance Your Effectiveness 

February, 2019 

As health care continues to evolve and transform, learning new techniques and tips to embrace and promote change can enhance your effectiveness as a leader. Lee Health’s LEEdership Institute is offering two courses that will give you the skills and confidence to become a more effective, compassionate leader in a changing environment:.........Read More


Anticipating an Exceptional Season, with Gratitude 

January, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As we head into peak season, we understand that this time of year is busy and can be stressful. This annual influx of seasonal residents and visitors add significantly to our local economy, and increase the volumes in our hospitals, outpatient facilities and health care offices throughout Southwest Florida. At Lee Health, we are working to create an exceptional season by shifting our collective mindset regarding season to one of gratitude for the opportunity to serve people who choose to come to Southwest Florida year after year and by taking a system-wide view of bed capacity.........Read More


Focusing on Care Coordination 

January, 2019 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

Care coordination is a focus for all providers – whether you have a community-based practice or work for a health care system. In today’s rapidly changing health care environment, we must all work together to coordinate care for our patients, to improve the patient experience, eliminate waste, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the care we provide.........Read More


Lesson in Safety: Use CUS to Make Safety Personal 

January, 2019 Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

CUS is an assertive, error-prevention tool that helps us to be accountable and support the team by speaking up for safety and elevating the concern if it is not addressed. CUS is especially helpful if we feel hesitant or intimidated about raising a concern to someone we perceive to be in a position of higher authority. Here’s how you CUS:........Read More


DEA Scam in Southwest Florida 

January, 2019

Please be advised of an ongoing Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scam in Southwest Florida. Individuals are posing as DEA Special Agents or other law enforcement personnel and calling physician offices seeking information about physician DEA numbers. The caller ID indicates that the phone call is from the DEA, but that is not true. In some instances, the callers are asking to speak directly with the physician to elicit the information. The callers have also threatened suspending physician licenses if the physician refuses to speak with them or otherwise provide the requested information........Read More


Enhance Your Leadership Skills through Lee Health’s LEEdership Institute 

January, 2019 

Are you interested in developing your leadership skills, or the skills of your office manager or support staff? Lee Health’s Leadership & Organizational Development department offers a variety of courses through the LEEdership Institute that provides the tools and techniques you or your staff need to improve leadership capabilities and confidence.........Read More


Lee Health Coconut Point: A Strategy to Partner in Improving Health 

December, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Lee Health Coconut Point, which is set to welcome patients and visitors early this month, is an important milestone in the history of health care in Southwest Florida, especially for Estero and Bonita Springs. This part of our community has seen tremendous growth and is home to a predominantly older population. Community leaders, businesses, residents and local health care providers have been very vocal in their request for improved access to health care, programs and services. It has been our goal to create the space and provide those services for more than 10 years, so we are proud and excited to open the doors at Lee Health Coconut Point on Dec. 3........Read More



Why Should Anyone Be Led By You/Us?

December, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Health

As health care providers, the reality of our leadership is one that we should take as a privilege to serve others and to have the opportunity to serve our community by becoming good stewards to the organization. Each day we are entrusted with the responsibility to impact the hearts, souls and minds of people (patients, employees, and other physicians) that desire to see us as a “trusted partner” in helping them succeed in the delivery of care and service to our community. The impact of leadership on each of our lives is profound; at work, our personal development, in our families, in our community relationships, etc. Some of the influences are positive, inspirational, others neutral and some can be negative or a detractor. We are on stage all the time.........Read More


HealthPark Medical Center Joins Elite Group of Cardiovascular Hospitals

December, 2018 

HealthPark Medical Center joins Mayo Clinic, Henry Ford Hospital and Duke University Hospital on IBM Watson Health’s Top 50 for Cardiovascular Care for 2019. This is the second year in a row that HealthPark Medical Center has made the list, and this year is one of only two hospitals in Florida to earn the designation.........Read More


Meetings Suspended Until January

December, 2018 

In the spirit of the holiday season, the November and December meetings of the Clinical Collaboration Council (CC) were cancelled. Following is a recap of the Council’s 2018 accomplishments:........Read More


Physicians Drive ACO Performance

November, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Through Best Care Collaborative, our Medicare Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO), we are seeing positive effects on patients and across many quality-of-care metrics, including a decline in readmissions and an increase in appropriate outpatient and ambulatory services. These are evidence that our community of providers are working collaboratively to help patients achieve a positive, healthy path of care........Read More


Obstetrics: Increasing Efficiency, Enhancing Quality

November, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

As we progress further into value-based care, the market is asking us to be accountable for the value that we provide. In healthcare, I define value as Quality + Service + Access/Cost. That value must be measurable. To ensure our success in this value-based environment, Lee Health is looking at existing services to evaluate the performance based on the Quality, Service, Access and Cost of the service from a health care system perspective. In the past few years, several developments have prompted a decision to consolidate obstetrical services from Gulf Coast Medical Center (GCMC) to reside in Health Park Medical Center (HPMC). This transition is scheduled to be complete by March 1........Read More


6 Steps to a Stronger Safety Culture

November, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

As we are taking steps to strengthen our safety culture in our care delivery, there is one constant thread that faces this culture every day. Many hospital adverse events go unreported because physicians and other health professionals are concerned that sharing information about safety problems may result in punitive action. ......Read More


Epic ordering changes

November, 2018

There will be some upcoming Epic ordering changes related to our recent work in the Lab Stewardship CCG workgroup under Hospitalist Medicine.......Read More


ACO, PSN: Opportunities for Value-Based Care for Southwest Florida

October, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Moving from an episodic, fragmented, volume-based care delivery system to one that is coordinated and focused on value requires all of us to redesign the way we deliver care. It requires us to put our patients in the center and leverage our strengths as an integrated health system and as a community of caregivers, so our patients seamlessly flow across inpatient, outpatient and post-acute facilities, programs and services. As we know, population health, which is driven by robust analytics and maintained by meticulous reporting and documentation, is a method for improving quality of care and the health of patients, while also reducing costs......Read More


Data Transparency Informs Decision Making

October, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

As we move forward to value-based care, the engagement of medical staff on how we do business is vital to our combined success. We know that unnecessary clinical practice variation increases the cost of health care. By working together, Lee Health and the medical staff can create clinical protocols and care pathways to meet the needs of our patient population. Reducing care variation also ensures better clinical outcomes. To develop our strategy it is imperative that we share data with the medical staff so that we can make informed decisions based on the weight of evidence. Improvements in care can be accomplished when we are willing to share data in an environment and manner that is designed to help each of us become the best physician/clinician we can possibly be. The environment we want to create is one where we are focused on process improvement and supports each other as colleagues where we “all teach, all learn.” ....Read More


Physician Leadership Institute Graduation Held

October, 2018

Congratulations to the 24 graduates of the fifth class of Lee Health’s Physician Leadership Institute (PLI). This esteemed class of physicians, advanced providers and administrators were recognized during a ceremony Sept. 12......Read More


Physician Listening Tours Opened Dialogue

September, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Earlier this year, I launched a “Listening Tour” to open the dialogue with all of you. My goal for these sessions was to enhance communication and collaboration, to gauge your opinions, answer your questions, and take note of your observations, insights and ideas. As a former practicing physician in our community, I understand there are silos, certain perceptions and skepticism. But, the changing health care landscape requires us all to work together for positive change, continuous improvement and success......Read More


ExceptionalLee Promise

September, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

During the past several months, Lee Health has been on a journey to define the “Lee Health Experience.” We gathered stories and ideas throughout the health system to better understand where we were doing well and where we need improvement. Though this initially started as a patient experience initiative, we were inspired and challenged to focus less on new initiatives and more on the qualities, behaviors and attitudes that unite us as humans. We realized that to create a better human experience, we have to excel at the basics – kindness, listening, effective communication, empathy and compassion. We believe excelling at these basic premises will build stronger, more trusting relationships. ....Read More


Antipsychotics: Beyond Black Box Warnings

September, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President, Quality and Safety

Delirium is an acute decline in attention and cognition, which is present in 18-35 percent of the elderly at hospital admission.....Read More


Complex Care Center: A Valuable Tool for Physicians, Clinics and Patients

August, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Helping patients transition through the continuum of care has been one of the major challenges of health care in the past; especially for those patients who have not established with a primary care provider. The Complex Care Center at Lee Memorial Hospital is an outpatient transitional service; a tool for physicians, clinics and patients to use to avoid emergency department visits, and hospital admissions and readmissions. Located in the already-established Infusion Center, it is staffed with hospitalists, pharmacists and longitudinal care advisors.....Read More


CCC Initiative Appropriately Reducing Telemetry

August, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA, COO

Last October, Lee Health implemented guidelines of the first evidence-based best practice developed through the Clinical Collaboration Council (CCC): ART of Telemetry (Appropriately Reducing Telemetry). The new guidelines were designed to provide our patients with the correct level of telemetry monitoring in Medical Surgical Units and Progressive Care Units while reducing its use on those not at risk for irregular heart rhythm....Read More


Help Guide Cancer Care in Southwest Florida

August, 2018

Since August of 2017, a group of physicians have met regularly to develop and guide the direction of cancer care in our community. The result of that work is a vision to provide “Coordinated Cancer Care, Inspiring Hope for Tomorrow.” Any physician on the medical staff that is interested in helping us work toward this vision and meets certain criteria is invited to join the Regional Cancer Center Expert Physician Panel and help guide the future of cancer care in Southwest Florida...Read More


Transplant Program Temporarily Inactivated

August, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

As of August 16, 2018, the Lee Health Transplant Institute will temporarily and voluntarily be inactivating the deceased donor kidney transplant program at Gulf Coast Medical Center due to a temporary lack of surgical availability. Since reopening in 2017, 33 patients have been transplanted with 100% patient and kidney survival. Plans are to reactivate the program in early December 2018, and remain dedicated to providing high-quality care for our patients...Read More


To Err is Human: System Gaps. Faulty Processes are Causes

August, 2018 | Alex Daneshmand, D.O., Vice President Quality and Safety

Most errors do not result from individual recklessness; rather, they are caused by system gaps and faulty processes. At Lee Health we want to continuously monitor and update the health care system to reduce the number of errors....Read More


Combining Care and Coverage for Medicaid Recipients

July, 2018 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

With the goal of improving health care delivery and outcomes for the underserved and vulnerable members of our community, Lee Health submitted a bid to launch and operate a Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) plan to serve Medicaid members throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry and Sarasota counties (known as Region 8). Our health plan is also known as a Provider Service Network (PSN) and will be different from the other MMA plans as it will be locally-led by physicians in our region. The goal of the health plan is to bring together care (behavioral and physical health care) and coverage, and we’ll do this through our regional network of providers and by localizing and streamlining the decision-making process....Read More


We’re Listening…

July, 2018 | Scott Nygaard, M.D., MBA Chief Operating Officer

We’ve been pleased with the open dialog occurring at our Physician Listening Tour sessions. One topic that has come up consistently is strengthening the relationship between Lee Health and the Medical Staff physicians. Solid relationships are built on trust, and we know we have work to do in this area. The executive team of Lee Health needs to know the issues or barriers you perceive, and how we can work better together for the benefit of our patients and community.....Read More


HB 21 Now in Effect

July, 2018

Florida House Bill 21 provides new requirements for prescribing controlled substances. Below is a brief summary of the law prepared by Lee Health Legal Counsel......Read More


2018 Hurricane Season – Physician Update

July, 2018

As a health system, Lee Health learned many lessons from Hurricane Irma, especially on billeting. We have revised our hurricane registration process to remain focused on patient care, quality and safety during a storm......Read More

Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs 

Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs  August, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, President & CEO, Lee Health

Enabling and ensuring access to care, especially primary care, is a vital responsibility for Lee Health. Disruptions or delays in care impact health outcomes and patient satisfaction and loyalty. More than five years ago, we recognized the need to more proactively address the local demand for health care, while also aiming to decrease a national shortage of primary care physicians. Lee Health partnered with The Florida State University College of Medicine to bring the first physician residency program to Southwest Florida in 2014. ..........Read More

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